Wednesday, February 28, 2024

InPark visits the grand opening of the Crayola Experience


Update: New Crayola Experience to open in Orlando in summer 2015.

Easton, PA, USA (May 24, 2013) — InPark co-editor Judy Rubin was in Easton, Pennsylvania USA for the grand opening of the Crayola Experience, the re-imagined visitor center designed by Jack Rouse Associates (JRA). Mayor Sal Panto was there to make an opening address prior to the ribbon cutting. Members of the project team present at the opening included George Wade of Bay Laurel Advisors, who spearheaded the endeavor, Dan Schultz and Mike Meyer of JRA and Richard Wagner of RAW Mediatek and Wyatt Simmons of Yellowleaf Inc. 1220 Exhibits was also a core part of the creative team (see list below).

Wade described to us the rapidity with which things came together – 18 months earlier, he’d taken a Crayola client team to IAAPA for a shopping trip, and the project process itself wrapped in about 15 months. The experience is a deft combination of the classic and the contemporary. The basic crayon is showcased with the rest of the product line (markers, etc.) via traditional how-it’s-made and how-it’s wrapped kiosks and presentations. The large and well stocked retail area includes options for creating one’s own T-shirt or painting with a custom interface from Yellowleaf that uses dye sublimation technology and allows a visitor to implement something they created at one of the interactive exhibits in the course of their visit.

Gaming technology, tablet technology and gesture technology keep visitors of all ages actively engaged in creative play in such areas as “Doodle in the Dark” and “Art Alive.”

This re-imagined “brand land” draws local families and school groups, and also from a much wider East Coast day-trip radius – it is about a 2-hour drive from New York City, for instance. We rode in from Port Authority, in a coach with a couple of “mommy bloggers” who write for Time Out New York, and had their children and a husband in tow.

With Crayola Experience, JRA has added to the company’s impressive body of design work for attractions centered on well-known brands, including Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, Ferrari, CNN and Jack Daniels. JRA COO Dan Schultz emphasized that while it was always the intention to integrate leading technologies, selection was dictated by story. “Don’t let technology drive creative,” he said. Four existing buildings were combined into the one, super-accessible facility, and the subject naturally lent itself to liberal use of color coding. Commenting on wayfinding, Schultz noted that simplicity is often the best policy: “Sometimes it just takes a pointing finger.”

Schultz remained on hand for most of opening day to observe visitors and their interactions at the opening – a practice he adopted for himself as a Paramount Parks intern in the 1970s. He called our attention to the roar of family groups all around us in the packed facility – mostly the lively voices, squeals and exclamations of excited children – the sounds of success. –J.R.

Crayola Experience Team members

Jack Rouse Associates
Mike Meyer – Creative Direction (Senior Project Director/Design Lead)
Jeff Smith – Project Manager
David Ferguson – Art Director
Colin Cronin – Art Direction, Graphic Design
Anita Daugherty – Executive Media Production
Scot Ross – Illustration, ID Development
John Nagel – Design Development
Grace Ficke – Design Development, Graphics
Alex Geller – Illustration

Reztark Design Studio
Christie Kratzer – Retail Development
Jennifer Kelley – Retail Design and Management

Abernathy Lighting Design
Kathy Abernathy – Lighting Design and Implementation
Jason Rainone – Lighting Design
Chris Abernathy – Lighting Implementation

RAW MediaTek
Richard Wagner – Audio/Video/Controls Design and Production
Stan Johnson (Pixel Factory) – Interactive Content and Software

Magnetic Dreams
Don Culwell – Media Development Management
Michael Lapinski – Media Design and Production

GeoGraph Industries
Mark Freudiger – Graphics Production and Implementation
Vanessa Miller – Graphics Production

Ed Betts – Interactive Development Management
Dave Griffin – Software Development
Joaquin Habacon – Content Development

Retail Millwork

1220 Exhibits
Interactive Production and Implementation

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Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She reports on design and technical design, production and project management, industry trends and company culture. From 2005-2020 she ran communications and publications for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA and publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association, and has contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a BFA from Pratt Institute. She has lived in Detroit, New York, Oakland, and now Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts community.

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